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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Israeli PM: No Ceasefire, "This is a Time for War"; Putin Blames Ukraine & Western Agencies for Airport Storming; Trump Disqualification Trial Begins in Colorado; More Than 60 Percent of U.S. Below Freezing For Halloween. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired October 31, 2023 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on EARLY START, rescued from Hamas. A female Israeli soldier kidnapped on October 7th saved in a special IDF operation.

Plus, the stunningly specific warning about the Maine gunman more than a month before he carried out a mass shooting. So, why wasn't he stopped?

And, taking action. The White House plan to counter antisemitic threats on college campuses the president himself saying he's very concerned.


HUNT: Good morning to our various here in the United States and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Tuesday, October 31st. Happy Halloween. Five a.m. here in Washington, 11:00 a.m. in Gaza where the Israeli military says they hit some 300 targets on Monday, including Hamas military compounds inside tunnels.

The IDF says their troops killed four prominent Hamas operatives. Israel's prime minister on Monday rejecting calls for a humanitarian cease-fire saying, this is a time for war.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I want to make clear Israel's position for the ceasefire. Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor or after the terrorist attack of 9/11, Israel will not agree to association of hostilities with Hamas after that horrific attacks of October 7th. Calls for a cease-fire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.


HUNT: And in just last hour, the IDF said the number of hostages in Gaza has been updated to 239. Freedom for one's really hostage celebrating one of her house on

Monday. The IDF telling CNN that make additional is, quote, actively rescued. In a special operation, the military says that she is well mentally and physically after being reunited with her family.

Hamas released a short video imitation three women being held hostage. CNN does not show video of people recorded under duress. One of the women looks into the camera, angrily demanding that Israeli leaders, quote, free as all.

In Gaza, 26 humanitarian aid trucks came in through the Rafah crossing Monday and over in the occupied West Bank, Israel reported new operations against armed Palestinian groups, four men were killed in the Israeli air and ground operation according to the Palestinian ministry of health.

CNN's Rafael Romo is live in Tel Aviv this morning.

Rafael, good morning.

U.S. officials telling CNN that Israel's expanding ground operations are complicating efforts to rescue hostages?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right, Kasie. Good morning.

The U.S. still one of several countries actively engaged in negotiations to secure the safe release of hostages, including American citizens. Of course, other countries involved in negotiations with Hamas in addition to the United States and Israel are Qatar and Egypt.

Sources tell CNN that Israel Defense Forces expanded its ground operations into Gaza, the talks about the hostages have begun with more complicated as senior U.S. official told CNN, on Monday, that they believe that the prospects of getting hostages out could now be described as 50/50.

Now, the ground incursion into Gaza is not the only problem. The same official says efforts at to negotiate with Hamas mediated significantly by the Qataris have been slow go away and in no small part, Kasie, because it simply takes a long time for messages to be transmitted from Doha, the Qatari capital, to Hamas.

We've also learned that David Barnea, the director of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was in Qatar over the weekend to discuss the ongoing efforts to get hostages released by Hamas. From the Israeli perspective, we are hearing that the total opposite argument, Kasie, from what they say is that intensifying the ground offensive puts more pressure on Hamas, which could ultimately result in the release of hostages and the idea of told CNN earlier that a female soldier initially released by Hamas was actually rescued in a special operation.

And over the weekend, a Hamas spokesman said the group -- imagine this -- is ready for a comprehensive prisoner swap with Israel, but there's a lot of skepticism, as you can imagine, about how serious Hamas is about any negotiations. A senior U.S. official put it this way, Kasie, it's Hamas after all.


He said, so far, only two hostages have been -- four hostages, I should say, have been released to Israelis and two Americans.

Kasie, back to you.

HUNT: Rafael Romo in Israel for us. Very interesting press conference in the last 24 hours from Benjamin Netanyahu, given in English, coupled with a "Wall Street Journal" op-ed also English where he quoted the book of Ecclesiastical. Clearly, they feel strongly about trying to send a message to Americans and others across the western world, to try to underscore where Israelis are saying that this is not the type of peace, it is the time for war.

Again, Rachel, thank you very much.

And just ahead here, Vladimir Putin reaction to an anti-Jewish riot at a Russian airport. You won't believe. It's not just -- it's antisemitic straight-up. You won't believe who Putin blames for it.

Plus, a warning sign, weeks before the mass shooting in Maine. So specific that you have to wonder why wasn't that gunman stopped?



HUNT: Welcome back.

Russia's president trying to pull off with the White House calls classic Putin. He is pointing the finger Ukraine and the West for the airport raid in Dagestan, Russia, that targeted Jewish passengers arriving from Tel Aviv.



VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The events in Makhachkala last night were inspired through social networks, including from the territory of Ukraine, by the hands of Western intelligence agencies. We can only hope Palestine in the fight against those against this tragedy. Wait, Russia, are fighting them within the framework of the special military operation.


HUNT: Uh-huh. More than 20 people were injured in that angry crowd, mob, relay, which Putin claims was fueled by Western social media.

The Anti-Defamation League describes the mob hunting for Jews as simply terrifying. Indeed. CNN's Clare Sebastian is live in London for us.

Clare, good morning. This incident has been widely condemned as antisemitic.

Putin, obviously, doing as the White House says, classic Putin move. What more can you tell us about this?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kasie, this is complicated. He has a variety of different constituencies to try to appeal to hear. But I think on the one hand, this does, potentially, show that Russia is now privatizing its relations with the Arab countries over what used to be a fairly warm relationship with Israel that has deteriorated since it started the war in Ukraine.

Russia now needs Arab countries like Iran, for example, more than ever. They provide weapons that they use in Ukraine. So, if he had condemn this antisemitic violence to stamp out this kind of antisemitic tendencies, that might have upset people in these Arab countries, which have been up in arms over what has been happening in Gaza.

Which is why instead of condemning it, Putin came out and said that what is happening in Gaza is not possible to justify. On the other hand, he also has a domestic constituency to appeal to because, of course, he doesn't want this violence to spread. Then he ends up with a domestic security problem coming just four months after an attempted coup a region that already has instability.

And just six months before an election, albeit it one that will be what with what is unlikely to be a surprise outcome. So, hence, we see him blaming the U.S. That's a well worn tactic that appeals to a domestic audience he's able to deflect and distract and, hopefully, start this kind of violence from spreading. But a very significant moment for Russia and very revealing about the sort of complicated position that the President Putin finds himself in the moment.

HUNT: Clare, I mean, this is -- this is a shift for Russia in a broader sense. I mean, I take your point about them clearly privatizing the relationships with Iran. But, historically, Putin has actually focused on building a strong security relationship with Israel. I mean, what's changed there?

SEBASTIAN: Yeah, definitely. This is a very long lasting relationship. Israel had a strong relationship with the Soviet Union, as well, a very large Russian diaspora in Israel. So, I think in some ways, he's still trying to thread the needle to keep that relationship up.

But, of course, the war in Ukraine, Russia claiming that that is a war against Nazism and does not play very well into Israel. Israel has not joined sanctions against Russia, but it has condemned the war in Ukraine and come out against it, certainly, statements around fighting Nazism in Ukraine.

So, I think, you know, we see the shift around the war in Ukraine. But, of course, it's crucial now for Putin to keep these allies in the Arab world up because he is now fully partnership with Iran, Syria is another ally of Russia, that is an enemy of Israel.

So, I think with the war in Ukraine has certainly been, you know, a key part of shipping these alliances, creating this landscape ship for Russian in that region.

HUNT: All right. Clare Sebastian in London for us, thank you very much, for being with us there. Really appreciate it.

All right, could Donald Trump be blocked from the 2024 ballot in Colorado? We're going to have the latest from a courtroom where that's going to be decided.

Plus, will unseasonable weather scare away our trick-or-treaters tonight? That's next.



HUNT: Welcome back.

Quick cuts across America now.

The one week trial seeking to disqualify Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot now underway in Colorado. The plaintiffs claimed Trump's role in the January 6th Capitol riot runs afoul of constitutional ban on insurrectionists holding office that was written after Civil War. Trump's lawyers claim it should be up to voters.


ERIC OLSON, ATTORNEY FOR PETITIONERS: Our Constitution prevents people who betray their solemn oath, as Trump did here, from serving in office again.

SCOTT GESSLER, TRUMP LAWYER: This court should not interfere with that fundamental value, that rule of democracy. It's the people who get to decide. And this lawsuit seeks to cancel that principle.


HUNT: The judge expected to rule by Thanksgiving.

All right. House Republicans are proposing a $14.3 billion stand-alone emergency aid package for Israel with one significant stipulation, they want to pay for with cuts to the IRS. Democrats want aid for Israel to be bundled with aid to Ukraine, as do Senate Republicans. So, a showdown is brewing there.

And the United Auto Workers have reached a tentative agreement with General Motors, marking the end to their sixth week strike against Detroit's Big Three.

[05:20:05] The broad terms included a 30 percent pay hike in line with deals already announced at Ford and Stellantis.

All right. If you feel chilly this Halloween, it's probably because you are freezing. Not frightened. December-like temperatures in the forecast for our haunted holiday today as far south as Texas.

Let's go to meteorologist Derek Van Dam.

Derek, my son actually went to bed in his (ph) pajamas last night. I guess he was on point, waking up on Halloween with those twinkling lights. I bought them early. I guess it was my fault. I guess we're going to be all chilly tonight when we take the kids trick or treating.

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: I know that -- I know that Christmas is knocking on our door very quickly, especially if you have kids. Let's focus on today's holiday, how about that? This is the calendar that marks everything for every child, right? They want to know exactly what to expect tonight.

And there is a drastic difference between what we went to bed with yesterday and what we are going to wake up to this morning. So, plan accordingly if you're dressing up or bundling up your children, heading out the door today with Halloween costumes on, it is going to be cool and this forecast is going to give us both because it is not what we had yesterday.

Look at those temperatures in the upper 40s, lower 50s, along much of the east coast, especially in the northern tier. Look at, that flurries in the forecast for Chicago. That is a spooky forecasts, 39 degrees and clear from Denver.

This is a Halloween forecast, again, for this afternoon and evening along the west coast, temperatures in the 50s and 60s. But when we talk about it this morning, stepping out the door today, we have freeze alerts that encompass much of the central parts of the country.

We're talking 2,000-mile span of freeze alerts. This is going to effectively end are growing season across many locations in the deep south. Freeze warnings shift even farther south, all the way to just outside of the gulf coast area. This includes Atlanta where we anticipate record low temperatures for many of these locations.

I see these blue dots, plotting them out for you. You can see that general gist of where these cool temperatures will remain for the next 24 hours. It's a cool morning lows and a blast of autumn air starts to welcome in a fall-like weather pattern. At least for the foreseeable future, there is a warming trend and that's extended outlook.

In the meantime, here's what you will wake up to over the next few days from Chicago, well below freezing, and New York City is flirting with the freezing mark. By Thursday morning, more of the same for Atlanta, Oklahoma City, as well as St. Louis.

So, yeah, a spooky forecasts, bundle up, plan accordingly. It is not what we had yesterday.

HUNT: So, Derek, tell me, what are your kids going as tonight?

VAN DAM: OK. So, we got Michael Jackson and we have a cat costume. So --

HUNT: Michael Jackson? I love it.

VAN DAM: Every single move all the way down to white glove and everything. It's perfect.

HUNT: Yeah, my son is four, so, there is only one option for us this year. That was Spider-man. I don't -- Spider-man has invaded your household yet?

VAN DAM: Yes, yep. Webs everywhere.

HUNT: I know, I can't even tell you the number of times. Now, it's time to put your shoes on and get out of the door.

All right, Derek Van Dam, enjoy the evening, especially with your little kids.

VAN DAM: Thanks. You too.

HUNT: Nice to see you. See you tomorrow.

All right. Up next here, Israeli forces rescuing an IDF soldier who was kidnapped the day of the Hamas 7 -- October 7th terror attacks. Details on that ground operation up next.

And new documents reveal more what police knew about the Maine mass shooter months before the attacks.



HUNT: Good morning. Thank you for being up early with us. I'm Kasie Hunt. It is just before 5:30 here on the East Coast.

Just before 11:30 in Israel where there are celebrations. You see them here, after the IDF says it actively rescued an Israeli soldier in a special operation. It says Ori Megidish is well mentally and physically after being indicted with her family. Hamas released a short video Monday showing three female hostages they say that they are holding. CNN does not show video of people reported under duress.

One of those women in the video addresses Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly, demanding that he, quote, free as all, end quote.

The idea of updated its official hostage count this morning to 239. But even as U.S. officials tell CNN that Israel's new ground operations are complicating efforts to rescue the hostages, Netanyahu on Monday rejected calls for a humanitarian cease-fire. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NETANYAHU: This is a time for war, a war for a common future. Today, we draw a line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. It is time for everyone to decide where they stand. Israel will stand against the forces of barbarism until victory.


HUNT: All right. Let's bring in Israeli writer and journalist Yossi Melman live in Tel Aviv.

Sir, it's always great to have you on the program.

I want to ask you about this -- what we heard there from Benjamin Netanyahu. He had a speech in English, coupled with a Wall Street Journal op-ed here in the U.S. where he cites the book of Ecclesiastes, says this is a time for war.

What was the goal of that?

YOSSI MELMAN, SECURITY WRITER AND JOURNALIST: Well, the goal, it is to send a message to the world and above all to Hamas and to boost the morale of the Israeli public. But -- and the war -- the campaign goes on. But still, Israeli ground assault is very slow, is very cautious to avoid casualties. The Israeli forces did not enter the main centers and above all, the city of Gaza, Gaza City, only trying to encircle it.

So, we are expected a slow move. I'm not sure there'll be a full.